A Headbite.

A Headbite[1] (or Head Bite[2]) is a type of attack used by Xenomorphs to kill their prey, involving the use of their inner jaw to pierce the victim's skull and fatally destroy the brain. The striking force of the Xenomorph's inner jaw is extremely powerful, able to pass completely through both sides of the skull and even pierce a Yautja bio-helmet, which are otherwise capable of withstanding small arms fire. The Headbite is in many ways their signature (although by no means their only) method of killing.

The first known Headbite occurred on October 10, 2004, when the Yautja Chopper was impaled by the tail of the Xenomorph Drone Grid and then Headbitten in the Pyramid under Bouvet Island. Grid performed another Headbite shortly afterwards on the Yautja Celtic.[3]


Head Bite

Grid performing a Headbite on Celtic.

The Headbite is a brutally effective but very short-ranged method of dispatching prey; owing to the limited striking distance of a Xenomorph's inner jaw, victims are commonly held or pinned with the hands (or impaled with the tail) before the Headbite is carried out.[4][5] This holding tactic may also be relevant given the Xenomorph's tendency to pause before delivering a blow with its inner jaw as if 'winding up' the attack.[4] Holding the victim steadfast denies them the chance to escape before the fatal blow can be administered. Due to the fact a Headbite directly inflicts damage on the victim's brain, it is almost always fatal, even against species stronger than humans, such as the Yautja.[3] However, death is not always instantaneous; after being Headbitten by the Alien aboard the USCSS Nostromo in June 2122,[6] Samuel Brett was heard screaming for several seconds afterwards.

Notable Victims[]

In Video Games[]

As arguably the Xenomorph's signature killing move, the Headbite has often been an integral part of gameplay in the various video games featuring the creature.

Aliens vs. Predator[]

In the 2010 video game Aliens vs. Predator, Headbiting is included in some of the game's stealth/trophy kill animations, and as such can be used both by the player and against them by others (in competitive multiplayer modes). When playing as an Alien, it is also possible for the player to Headbite the corpses of people they have killed (so long as they were not also initially killed with a Headbite), and doing so will recover all lost health.

Aliens: Colonial Marines[]

In the 2013 video game Aliens: Colonial Marines, Xenomorphs will sometimes dispatch the player in the campaign with a Headbite; this typically happens when engaging a Drone in melee combat when low on health. Lurkers will also attempt to Headbite the player when pouncing on them, and will succeed in doing so if not pushed away. In multiplayer, the Headbite is among the fatality moves the Xenomorph player can select as part of their loadout, and can subsequently be used against Colonial Marine players. The Headbite is also notably featured in Stasis Interrupted when a Xenomorph Drone executes Andrews using this method.

Alien: Isolation[]


The Drone on Sevastopol Headbiting the player.

In Alien: Isolation, the majority of the Drone's kill animations end with it Headbiting the player. Unscripted NPC kills also typically end with the Drone Headbiting them.

Mortal Kombat X[]

In Mortal Kombat X, the Alien is introduced as a DLC character. Many of its moves consist of using its inner jaw to attack the opponent, including headbiting them.

Behind the scenes[]

Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem[]

Main article: Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem

For Nathan's Headbite in Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem, a silicone and fiberglass bust[7] was created with the likeness of Ty Olsson, the actor who played the character,[7] from a head cast.[8] The bust was loaded with an air-powered canister of brains (made out of bananas from the craft service table) and blood.[8] Alec Gillis and Steve Frakes prepared the bust before Alien actor Simon Burnett grabbed both sides of the bust's head.[7] A pneumatically-fired Alien inner jaw was aligned to, and then pierced, a pre-cut hole.[7]


  • In Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem, a Drone Headbites an already dead human body. It is not known why it did this, but is presumed (or suggested) to have been feeding on the corpse. If this is the case, it would also suggest that Xenomorphs swallow their food through their second mouth.
  • Despite not possessing an inner jaw, the Newborn executes a Headbite on Dr. Gediman in Alien Resurrection — by literally biting a large chunk out of his head.
  • While her death isn't shown clearly, it is possible that Corporal Ferro was the victim of a Headbite in Aliens.
  • The Headbite has appeared in nearly every form of media in the Alien franchise, with the only notable exception being Aliens.
  • In the story Superman vs. Aliens, upon receiving a headbite, Superman humorously described it as "like I went a couple more rounds with Doomsday!"